I've never really MUDed much, but a few weeks ago I went back to a MUD I was on many years ago, Arctic, and now have a level 8 mage. When I went on years ago I wasn't really interested in playing, I knew one of the "immortals" and just went on to chat with her. I was at a bookstore a few weeks ago though and was reading through a book called something like "How to be a game programmer: interviews with all the awesomest game designers" or something along those lines. I've never played Everquest, I don't even have a credit card to pay however much a month even if I wanted to, but it interests me, so I read the interview with the EQ designer. He said they did a few things to prepare their MMORPG, including play a lot of MUDs and write down what they liked and what they didn't like. Like many people, I have a ton of ideas I'd like to do, but have a definite lack of capital, free time as well as programming skill - in fact I'd say those things are intertwined somewhat. I do have an idea of an MMORPG though - to save on capital, among other reasons, it would try to be more p2p based than server based, and it would have a definite game theme which I won't go into currently.
So one thing I've become interested in is MUD clients. I'm interested in ones that are free - free as in both meanings. What I'm interested in are Windows clients, and to some extent command-line UNIX clients, and less so graphical UNIX ones. The main one I've been using is TinyFUGUE, which is a command line UNIX one. It's decent, and I've been using it. I just tried JamochaMUD, a Java one that runs on Windows (and I guess UNIX). The display often becomes scrambled though, so I'm not going to use it. So my search goes on for a good free (both meanings) MUD client.
Well, I guess there are groups using W.A.S.T.E., but it hasn't taken off like I'd expected, which AOL coming down on it didn't help. I'm sure small groups of people are finding it useful, and they're out there. I got somewhere down the list of the client, then got busy, then when I didn't see momentum I tossed in the towel. That "awesomest and successful game designers" book I mentioned before had several people interviewed say that what they really looked for in a designer was someone who didn't just start projects but completed them. Of course, that's not always an axiom, it of course makes sense to abandon a project when it has no utility any more. But that has stuck in my mind and is motivation to look at my Gnutella clone project Gnutizen again. It is true that I have very little free time, but if I can get around that I'll be looking at it again. I have to weed the bugs out, and then add on the non-leech functionality. I did get it to the point where it can download files though so it has reached the first step of acceptability, now I just have to get it to specs of an old Gnutella document which I'm sure no one but me cares anything about any more.
Well I keep hearing about Knuth, Knuth, Knuth so I finally went out and plucked down $150 or whatever for the three books he's written so far. A lot of math. A lot. As I said before, I really have no free time, especially to sit down and concentrate intently for a few hours each day, every day. So Knuth will probably have to stay on my shelf for a while.
Well as I said in diary entries before, I am a systems administrator mainly, who just got seriously interested in programming, and I've been learning by doing mostly. I mean, I already know languages like PERL somewhat, but I've been writing stuff in C. Later on I might pick up C++ and Java. But anyhow I am mainly a systems administrator.
Anyhow I will not go into giving my opinion or trying to convince people or get into a discussion or argument. Especially since to me getting into an argument with someone who's here that is a manager and has a different not only point of view, but different interests, often diametrically opposed to mind. So I'm just speaking now to people who are workers - programmers, admins, and whatnot, who are tired of the rising unemployment rates, and tired of falling industry wages and so forth. And my message is - I'm with you. And also - we can't figth this as individuals. The IT employers - Microsoft, Intel, IBM and so forth have been well-organized and funding things like the evil ITAA for years - and the ITAA has taken that millions in funding and gone to Washington DC and screwed us over. And not just DC - they commissioned phony baloney reports about a lack of IT workers and got it all out in the press to fool the public, to "fool" Washington DC (although I'm sure campaign contributed made that easier) and even to fool some of us. Anyhow, they're organized, and now that we're under attack, now that our industry wage is falling, and of course I'm only talking to fellow workers (excluding any managers or whoever who may disagree), what we have to do is organize and fight back. You've been made about this, you've been wondering what you can do as an individual, and what I'm saying is, the employers and ITAA are not doing it as individuals, they're not fighting the system alone, why should we? So check out the Programmers Guild or even some of the more union-associated ones like WashTech. There's an old slogan "educate, agitate, organize". Before you do that you have to get educated, get agitated and get organized though. And the least important thing is the possibility of some AFL-CIO union coming in and getting collective bargaining contracts for X% of the industry (actually, surprisingly enough, they already probably do have 1-2% of the industry, whether you know it or not). What's important is that people wake up and organize together and educated themselves on issues that effect us, and our wallets. The employers are organized, why aren't we? Doctors and lawyers are organized in the AMA and ABA, if we're "professionals" why aren't we? And please don't mention the IEEE or any junk like that. The IEEE is corporate sponsored for one thing (can you imagine the AMA being corporate sponsored?) and for a second thing the leaders have killed anything good that members have proposed over the past few years. Associations like the IEEE see their job beginning and ending with making sure your skill level increases, and any other interest you have goes out the window. So check out the guild and Washtech, watch the Usenet groups like alt computer consultants for discussions and get involved. Believe me, most of the engineers like yourself have the same kinds of ideas and concerns as you do - and the way you would like to see things not going is the same as theirs.
It shows how screwed up American society is that this often has a "debate". Could you imagine IBM, Intel and Microsoft management having debates over whether to fund the ITAA with arguments like "if we're such a good company, we don't need someone in Washington DC looking out for our interests". There's a reason these people are running the world, and Farscape watching dorks full of hubris about their own ability are getting the shaft. But as I said several times, my message is not directed to those people but to those who already agree and hopefully I will be a little nudge that helps push them along, sometimes people want to be invited to the party before coming.